Edrington is uniquely poised to benefit from the trend toward premium spirits and the growing enthusiasm for malt whiskies. Our strong malts portfolio – Highland Park, The Glenrothes and Naked – means that we continue to appeal to existing and new consumers entering the increasingly important contemporary whisky category.
After several years of rapid volume and profit growth, 2019 was challenging for Highland Park. It came under pressure from price promotions in the UK market, faced slowing rates of sale in the US and experienced difficult trading conditions in Germany. Coupled with significant digital brand investment, this resulted in lower profit compared to the previous year.
At the same time, Highland Park welcomed double-digit growth in Russia and grew across Asia Pacific, a key region for the brand, on the back of a revamped prestige collection that now includes 21, 25, 30 and 40-year-old expressions. Focused brand investment across digital media, together with a successful engagement programme that targeted over 100 influential bartenders and reached 1.1 million consumers, also saw us recruit passionate new advocates for the brand. In the coming year, Highland Park will align global markets and key cities behind the ‘Orcadian Single Malt Scotch with Viking Soul’ communication platform, delivering brand education throughout its distribution network and exciting new generations of consumers.
The Glenrothes continued to build desire for the brand and delivered double-digit contribution growth on a marginally reduced volume base. Within this, gross contribution showed strong growth thanks to a more premium mix, which helped to support increased brand investment. It was an exciting year for the brand across Asia, the Nordics, Spain and Mexico with sales in these markets doubling overall. The first-ever The Glenrothes 40-year-old received widespread acclaim, while demand for the 18-year-old and 25-year-old expressions outstripped supply. The brand’s strong performance was underpinned by more investment in a globally unified digital approach that saw global followers rise by 26%. Looking ahead, we will maintain momentum behind value growth with our internal creative studio resource optimising our digital channels for impactful brand communications.
Naked powered ahead with its third year of double-digit volume growth following its move to a blended malt, growing ahead of both the blended malt and contemporary whisky categories. The brand is well on its way to establishing itself as a leading contemporary premium whisky, inspiring a new generation of aficionados. Now available in over 60 markets globally, the brand is being recognised by consumers and trade partners for its quality, great taste and distinctive packaging. The Naked Escape global competition coupled with our bartender engagement programme reached an audience of 13 million potential consumers, introducing them to the brand while inviting them to celebrate freedom and ‘Live Naked’ in their own way. These campaigns will be extended as we proceed to accelerate growth in key markets.